Last September, a professor at the university contacted me about fabricating custom office furniture for two spaces in his new lab. Nearly a year later, after developing a design with David Schmitz of engage:ARCHITECTURE and jumping through a few state-mandated hoops, the job is nearly wrapped up.
For the primary office, we integrated David’s mitered casework and inset doors with the professor’s desire to see something in a “northwest” style. This got interpreted as clear vertical-grain fir, a wood I typically prefer to see standing in its original old-growth habitat. But we found some “mill outs” CVG fir through Easy Creek Lumber. This grade of lumber has the occasional check, knot, or pitch pocket–easy enough for me to work around–that makes it nearly worthless to the high-end door and sash manufacturers who almost exclusively use the stuff. It is, I’ll say, truly beautiful wood and a classic northwest look. Unlike the flat-sawn red oak furniture we’re replacing, no one will be hauling it to the dump in 15 years. Fir plywood from Eugene’s States Industries; western walnut desktop slabs from Scotty’s.
A second office needed to provide both dedicated workspace for the professor’s graduate assistant and a shared lab office area. David came up with a solution that divided the room up enough to allow some privacy for the grad student but still open, bright, and inviting to the other students working there. Here we used appleply with some new (to us) laminates–a lightly-textured white (‘white mircro-dot’) for the doors and drawer fronts and ‘seagrass strand’ for the working tops.